Mahmood

Mahmood may not yet end up representing Italy at the 2019 Eurovision Song Contest. Despite confirming his intention at a press conference after winning the Sanremo festival on Saturday, this morning the Italian press brought news that nothing is yet confirmed.

On Saturday the official Eurovision Twitter account confirmed he would be in Tel Aviv, but an interview this morning in La Stampa, found Mahmood admitting he’s had second thoughts. His record label (Universal) wants to prioritise concerts and promotion off the back of Sanremo exposure. Eurovision involves a huge time commitment; the promotional events alone take over and stop an artist doing much else between now and May.

Broadcaster RAI is said to be looking at all options. An announcement is expected at some point this week – though they have until 10 March to make up their minds.

Update: at 1.46pm on 12 February, the Rai Twitter account confirmed Mahmood will sing for Italy with 'Soldi'. Clearly someone there got Universal Music to chip in to cover expenses.

Target

In other news, the UK broadsheet claims Mahmood is 'the latest target' of Italy’s rightwing populist government.

"Mahmood …mah…the most beautiful Italian song? I would have chosen #Ultimo,” tweeted Matteo Salvini, the deputy prime minister and leader of the far-right League party. Deputy prime minister, Luigi Di Maio, from the League’s Five Star Movement coalition partners, denounced what he called a jury “of journalists and the radical chic” and called for a rule change.

“Next year, maybe the winner should only be chosen by televoting, given that it costs Italians 51 cents to make them count!”

The controversial president of state broadcaster Rai Marcello Foa also called for the voting system to be changed.

Of course, it could be they just don't like the song.